Two podium finishes during the Canadian Junior National Freestyle Ski championship has Apex Freestyle Club coach Kenni Kuroda very happy.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all and it came from two unexpected athletes,” said Kuroda.
Chloe Kober and Shaina Finlayson placed second and third respectively in the big air event March 16. Kober scored 56, while Finlayson landed a score of 47.6.
“They really put on a good show. They competed hard and got the results,” said Kuroda. “I just can’t say enough about how well they competed. It was over and above anything that I could have imagined.”
Kuroda added that the 13-year-olds have their own rivalry. If one does a trick, the other one wants to try it as well.
“They performed triple spread eagles, which they have never done before,” said Kuroda.
Finlayson said she was the first one to do the trick, but was honest in what happened.
“I was just trying to do a double,” she confessed. “It turned out good. She (Kober) did really good. I was really proud of her. I hit that jump first in training so she tried it too.”
As for their rivalry, Finlayson said they are really good friends, who when competing, are quite competitive against each other.
“If one of us does a trick, the other one wants to do it just so we stay on the same level,” she said.
Kober said the whole experience was just unbelievable as she was given a spot the night before the championship started.
“It was just a huge surprise,” she said. “One of my happiest moments. Competing side by side with Shaina was amazing.”
Kober said being on the podium was such a thrill and felt she performed well during the weekend. Knowing their competitors, she said it was a surprise to win.
Finlayson said it was exciting to win a bronze medal. Heading into the event, Finlayson said the jump looked big. After she took to the air from it, she said it was fun.
“Some of the older guys were quite intimidating because they were doing really cool tricks,” she said.
Finlayson also enjoyed being part of the weekend as the calibre of skiers pushed her to be better. She was excited as she talked about seeing athletes from across the country. She was happy with her performance, which included a seventh-place finish in the slope style and seventh in dual moguls.
“It was really fun. I’d really like to do it again,” said Finlayson, who has more confidence going into the Timber Tour championship, which is this weekend as she looks to get on the podium. “I was really happy I got a spot.”
Other results had Kassidy Todd placing fifth in slope style. On the male side, Matt Finlayson placed 10th, Rhys Swenson 20th and Cameron Kapusty, 22nd. In moguls, for females, Madison Parker finished fourth scoring 16.49, Mackenzie Schwinghamer was fifth at 15.52, Anna Spence placed eighth and Todd was ninth. In male 2, AFC alumni Josh Kober won gold, while Connor Spence earned a silver and Jordan Cario was sixth. Kuroda congratulated Kober adding that he skied “amazingly well.” In the male 3 group, AFC alumni Noah Spence earned a bronze medal. AFC member Kyle Parker placed 11th, Koleton Phipps was 23rd and Matt Finlayson was 24th. In M4, Max Todd placed eighth. In the big air, Kassidy Todd was eighth, while Anna Spence and Mackenzie Schwinghamer placed ninth and 10th respectively. Noah Spence was 13th, Kapusty placed 14th and Rhys Swenson was 15th and Phipps was 24th. Brayden Kuroda was 12th in M4.
In what Kuroda described as a deep field, AFC performed very well.
“We had some top-10 finishes,” he said. “The girls really performed well in moguls and big air. Slopestyle isn’t our forte. The competitors that were in slope style did very well. There is a lot of depth coming out from the east from Quebec and Ontario in slopestyle so that made it much tougher for our kids.”
In dual moguls Madison Parker was fourth and Kassidy Todd was sixth. Noah Spence was fifth.